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Jul 14, 2010

My Interview with Adrian Warnock: Why We Need Non-Paid Christian Leaders

If you looked at the typical lineup at most Christian conferences, or read many Christian blogs, you'll notice one thing. The line-up is dominated by pastors. In one sense, that seems normal -- pastors' conferences tend to attract pastors and they hear from pastors.

I've written before about my concern over the issue of clergification (my comments here from my blog and an article in Your Church Magazine from Christianity Today), that increasingly the ministry is being owned by and solely done through credentialed pastors or ministers credentialed in some way. Yet, in the New Testament, we see pastors being valued, and the calling even described as noble (1 Timothy 3:1), but we also see faithful non-pastors mentioned in the text.

In some tantalizing ways, names of lay people are sprinkled throughout the Scripture and often are seen as having substantial influence in the New Testament church (e.g., Priscilla and Aquila, Lydia, Epahroditus, Lois and Eunice, and many others).

Take Priscilla and Aquila. We have no evidence of a pastoral role, yet they appear in multiple cities helping to plant churches and do ministry -- without any reference to preaching or pastoring. They even have a Wikipedia article. ;-)

A question that I am asking as an extension of my concern about clergification is: How can we find and affirm non-pastors who are engaged in Christian ministry? Can we affirm people who don't go to seminary and who are not on church payroll as valuable agents of Kingdom work?

You'll see that from time to time, I'll seek to do that here at the blog -- hence, today's post.

One of the more fascinating non-paid leaders engaged in Christian ministry is a prominent blogger named Adrian Warnock. What I find interesting about Adrian is that he is certainly one of the more influential Christian leaders, but he is not paid by a church and has not been to a seminary. Rather, he is a working psychiatrist in London. He serves as a volunteer pastor/elder at his church, but is primarily known through his blog, adrianwarnock.com.

It is interesting that the leveling effect of blogs has created platforms of influence for non-vocational pastors. I think, as Thomas Friedman has written, "The World is Flat", and thus those with good ideas often are able to communicate around the ecclesiastical structures that twenty years ago would have hindered that communication. Thus, we see bloggers like Adrian Warnock, Tim Challies, and Kent Shaffer.

I had the privilege of spending some time with Adrian while I was in London with the Upstream Collective. While I was there in London, I preached at Jubilee Church my second Sunday. You can see my message here. But the day before I preached at his church, Adrian joined us, along with Terry Virgo and others, at the Dwell London Conference (check out my interviews with Terry Virgo and Steve Timmis, who also spoke at the Dwell conference).

Here's my interview with Adrian Warnock, where we discussed specifically how it is that someone who is not a paid member of the "clergy" can become such a significant influence in the Christian world. I bring this to you with the hope that you as pastors (most of my readers are pastors or church staff) will elevate leaders in your church so that men and women who are not paid by the church can still use their gifts and influence in and through the church. Here's the interview.

Feel free to weigh in below. How are you, pastors and church staff, seeking to push forward non-paid Christian leaders in your church and in the broader Christian community?

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Posted:July 14, 2010 at 12:00 am

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